tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS May 12, 2010 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT
that's it for us on 9news now. the cbs evening news with katie cure tick is next. see you -- katie couric is next. see you at 6:00. seated. >> couric: tonight, two presidents make peace as they prepare to escalate a war. >> there's going to be some hard fighting over the next several months. >> couric: i'm katie couric. also tonight, courting support on capitol hill. elena kagan introduces herself to senators who will decide whether she joins the supreme court. and... >> i died three times, came back >> couric: he nearly lost his life in iraq. now off the battlefield, he's found courage and hope. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. evening, everyone. they may not be the best of friends, but in washington today presidents obama and karzai put on the best show of unity they
could as the united states and afghanistan get ready for a major new offensive against the taliban. the surge mr. obama ordered has brought u.s. troop strength to 87,000. it's expected to reach nearly 100,000 by the end of the summer. president obama warned today of hard fighting in the months ahead in the battle for kandahar in southern afghanistan. that means more casualties. in more than eight years of war, more than a thousand americans have been killed, including two just today. chip reid is at the white house tonight. chip, while bracing the country for difficult times, the president is still bullish about the prospects in afghanistan. >> reporter: that's right, katie, the president said u.s. forces are making steady progress, but he also said the toughest days of this war are still ahead. >> there are going to be ups and downs. and one thing that i've tried to emphasize is the fact that there's going to be some hard fighting over the next several months. >> reporter: along with that warning, the president expressed optimism that his timeline for
beginning to bring troops home is still on track. >> i am confident that we're going to be able to reduce our troop strength in afghanistan starting in july, wave the. >> reporter: president karzai is getting the red carpet treatment on this trip to washington, part of a charm offensive by the white house as it seeks to reduce tensions that became so heated in recent months that karzai reportedly threatened to join the taliban if u.s. officials didn't start treating him with more respect. today, a dramatically different tone. >> we are much more strongly related to each other today than we ever were before in this relationship. >> reporter: after visiting wounded troops at walter reed hospital, karzai praised their sacrifice. >> it was a very difficult moment for me, mr. president, to meet with a young man-- very, very young man-- who had lost two arms and legs.
it was hard rendering. >> reporter: and president obama reiterated his personal commitment to reducing casualties among afghan civilians. >> we have interests in reducing civilian casualties because i don't want civilians killed. and we are going to do everything we can to prevent that. >> reporter: general skwreufl stanley mcchrystal, the top general in afghanistan was sitting right in front of me in the east room and right after the president made his impassioned argument for reducing civilian casualties, mcchrystal leaned over and whispered "that was great." katie? >> couric: chip, when they meet behind closed doors, aren't all the old problems still there: corruption and incompetence in the afghan government? >> reporter: they absolutely are, katie, but the administration has finally reached the conclusion that even though they'd rather have somebody who would rein in corruption, they're stuck with him and they'll have to make this relationship work.
>> couric: by the way, that american soldier president karzai met, you'll meet him later in this broadcast. his courage and spirit are something to behold. right now, the campaign to get the senate to confirm the president's nomination of elena kagan to the supreme court. chief legal correspondent jan crawford tells us the solicitor general made the rounds of khreupb today and argued her own case. >> reporter: everywhere elena kagan went today the cameras were sure to follow. even when she took the senate subway. the peres was close behind. two days after the president nominated her, kagan put aside her day job-- arguing in the rarefied world of the supreme court as solicitor general-- and steped into the meat grinder of senate confirmation. >> i know this will be a challenging process to go through, it always is. >> reporter: in private meetings with kagan, republican senators pressed her on possible roadblocks, her objection to
military recruiting at harvard because of "don't ask, don't tell" and her lack of experience as a judge. and then there's this: if confirmed, kagan would be the fourth sitting justice from new york, which she brought up in her meeting with alabama senator jeff sessions. >> she made that point, actually, first, kind of talking about her background and where she grew up and that we'll have four justices from new york. >> reporter: i kagan would join fellow new yorkers antonin scalia, ruth bader ginsburg and sonia sotomayor. >> she's someone that has had real world experience managing government, making decisions, that's more important to me than where she's from. >> reporter: her confirmation would also mean the court would have no protestant justices, only jews and catholics, even though more than half the country identifies as protestant. senators on both sides said that's irrelevant. >> i don't think we should be checking the box on someone's religion. >> reporter: and it would mean all the justices went to law school in the ivy league-- five
from harvard, three from yale, one from columbia. kagan is a harvard grad, but it was unclear whether that came up in her meetings. >> everybody's treated me very well. that's the most i've said all day. (laughter). >> reporter: and she'll be back tomorrow for another full day of meets with senators, continuing for an entire month with confirmation hearings expected in july. katie? >> couric: jan, you talked about the makeup of the court. do you get the sense that members of congress believe it should be more representative of the country, at least academically or geographically? >> reporter: well, katie, senators always say "we wish we had justices from different schools, different states" their own home state, but no one is saying this will be a problem for kagan's confirmation chances. >> couric: jan crawford. jan, thanks very much. now turning to that oil spill in the gulf of mexico. it is day 23 and b.p. is gearing up to try for a second time to stop the leak. the latest now from mark strassmann in venice, louisiana.
>> reporter: this is it: first video of the b.p. well gushing oil 5,000 feet underwater. 200,000 more gallons every day. to plug the major leak, b.p. has lowered a second but much smaller containment box hoping to trap the oil and funnel it to a surface ship as soon as late tomorrow. as workers lay down more protective boom, it's become increasingly clear that a whole series of failures-- some human, some mechanical, some regulatory-- led to this disaster out here. >> the more i learn about this accident, the more concerned i become. >> reporter: a house congressional committee today grilled executives from four companies, each responsible for separate parts of the well, from the platform to the pipelines. most damaging: the committee assert add key safety device had multiple problems. the gushing well's blowout preventer, supposedly fail safe, never shut off oil flow as intended in emergencies. that allowed methane gas to enter, possibly triggering the
rig's deadly explosion. b.p. documents show this blowout preventer had design flaws, leaks in its hydraulic system, and a dead battery in its control pod. >> if the largest oil and oil service companies had been more careful, 11 lives might have been saved and our coastlines protected. >> reporter: b.p.'s chairman admitted that some of those findings about the device were troubling but also said to find out what really happened that night, someone would have to tear apart that device piece by piece. katie? >> couric: mark strassmann reporting tonight from venice, louisiana. thank you. overseas, a small miracle was found among the wreckage of a libyan airliner: the plane on a flight from south africa slammed into the ground near tripoli this morning. 103 people on board were killed. everyone, richard roth reports, except one little boy. >> reporter: the airbus 330 crashed at the edge of the runway at the end of afriqiyah
airway's 8:20 flight to tripoli from johannesburg and, from the wreckage, it's hard to imagine how anyone survived. but one little boy did, believed to be dutch and ten years old. rushed to a hospital, he's in stable condition tonight with broken bones in his legs and feet. his only words, the doctors said, were "holland, holland." from passports littered in the debris, libyan rescue workers knew right away the plane had been filled with foreigners headed home. many were european, vacation travelers taking advantage of cut-rate fares on a libyan flight. the biggest group was headed here to dusseldorf. 61 of the dead were dutch tourists, libya says this wasn't terrorism, there was no volcanic ash, and the weather was clear. but with last june's fatal crash of an air france airbus still a mystery, the interest in the flight recorders recovered in tripoli tonight couldn't possibly be more urgent.
richard roth, cbs news, dusseldorf. >> couric: and coming up next on the cbs news, billions have been raised for haitian relief. so why are so many still hungary and homeless? we'll follow the money. [ female announcer ] sometimes you need tomorrow to finish what you started today. for the aches and sleeplessness in between, there's new motrin pm. no other medicine, not even advil pm, is more effective for pain and sleeplessness. new motrin pm. by swapping theirnd frides with a ford.essness. and we got a little help from their friends and family. >> we swapped your car for the week. >> what?
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by an earthquake, 230,000 people were killed, 189,000 homes destroyed. tonight, many haitians are still suffering, despite the billions in relief that's poured in from all around the world. so where has it all gone? sharyl attkisson tonight follows the money. >> reporter: 120 days after the earthquake, more than 1.5 million haitians remain homeless, many living amid utter devastation. yet enough aid has been raised to give each displaced family a check for $37,000. so why are so many still going hungry and living under flimsy shelters. the little-known truth is, most of the $14.9 billion that's been donated will be used on long-term projects to rebuild haiti. this man is a former economic consult tonight to haiti. >> the former organizations that have money should be spending it right now. this is emergency relief. >> reporter: we wanted to find
out what has been spent so far, so the past several weeks, our cbs news investigation looked at five major nonprofits: care, catholic relief services, the red cross, the clinton bush haiti fund and a separate clinton foundation haiti fund. only the clinton bush fund and the clinton foundation refused to answer our questions, despite repeated e-mails and phone calls. their web sites say they've collected about $51 million donor dollars but have only spent about $7 million, less than one sevenths. the other charities gave us breakdowns. the red cross has raised $444 million and spent about 25% of it. $55 million for emergency relief such as food and kitchen items, $42.9 million for shelter, including tarps, tents and blankets. care has raised $34.4 million and spent about 16%. $2.5 million on shelter. at catholic relief services, of $165 million committed to haiti, it spent no more than 8%.
$2.5 million on food, $1.28 million on emergency shelter. the charities argue they've already helped millions and would get criticized if they spent too much up front instead of addressing the long term. we spoke to care's gary philoctete in haiti. >> we move quickly but prudently with spending the funds so that we ensuring that the investment is made brilliantly. >> reporter: as head of the american red cross, gail mcgovern is well aware of prior scandals where the red cross is accused of collecting money for one cause but spending it on another. can you tell the public today that every dime raised by the american red cross for haiti will be spent on haiti? >> minus the nine cents overhead, 91 cents on the dollar will be going to haiti. and i give you my word and my commitment, i'm banking my integrity, my own personal sense of integrity on that statement. >> reporter: it's too soon to get the most detailed
accounting. each nonprofit has it own policing mechanisms like independent audits and advisory committees. they each say they can show with great precision where nearly every penny is going, but that will take time. bill canny leads emergency operations for catholic relief services, which has spent the least proportionally of the charities we looked at. if there's so much money to be had, why hasn't it made it to the peek yet? >> our donors don't ask that we spend money quickly, they ask that we spend money on quality programs that are transparent and for which we can account. >> reporter: with so many billions of dollars in the mix, one thing is clear: there's plenty to spend money on and no shortage of questions about how and when it will be used. sharyl attkisson, cbs news, washington. wasn't my daughter's cabbage appetizer spectacular?
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>> that's one small step for man , one giant leap for mankind. >> couric: neil armstrong spoke those famous words, but rarely speaks in public anymore. but today an exception. on capitol hill, he blasted president obama's decision to cancel america's return to the moon and urged congress to restore the program. >> lack of review normally guarantees there will be overlooked requirements and unwelcome consequences. for this plan, that is worrisome. >> couric: the first man to walk on the moon was joined by the last to do it, gene cernan,
who said canceling the moon project is shortsighted. >> this budget proposal presents no challenges, has no focus, and is, in fact, a blueprint for a mission to nowhere. >> reporter: but president obama says there's more to space than just the moon. he envisioned manned missions to mars in the next 25 years and hopes private companies can develop their own spacecraft for trips to the international space station. after the shuttle retires this year, getting there will require hitching a ride with the russians. armstrong said that will destroy america's leadership in space. >> if the leadership we have acquired through our investment is simply allowed to fade away, other nations will surely step in where we have faltered. >> couric: and coming up next, you'll meet that extraordinary soldier we told you about earlier in the broadcast.
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powerful. it forces us to stop and think and perhaps readjust how we feel about our own lives. with that, david martin introduces us to a 23-year-old soldier from staten island, new york. >> reporter: sooner or later it had to happen, a soldier lost all four limbs and survived. it happened to brendan morocco on easter sunday of 2009 in iraq when his vehicle trip add roadside bomb. >> just took both arms, my left leg off completely and my right leg was still attached a little bit and killed my gunner and best friend. >> reporter: then there's that nasty scar on his neck. >> severed my carotid artery so they... that alone should have killed me but... >> reporter: so your carotid ar artery is severed, your left leg is off completely. >> both arms and my left leg completely off. >> reporter: why don't you
bleed to death? >> it's molten so it's extremely hot. it completely cauterized my wounds so i'm barely bleeding from them. >> reporter: so the same weapon that took all your body parts... >> saved my life. >> reporter: saved your life. >> completely. >> reporter: just barely. >> i wasn't expected to live. i died three times, came back. >> reporter: died three times. flat pulse? >> yeah. flat out dead. >> reporter: michael anaya, his gunner and best friend was killed, even though he was not as badly wounded. what i'm trying to figure out if you're the luckiest or unluckiest guy in the world. >> a little bit of both, i guess. >> reporter: it would be so easy to be bitter. >> there's a lot of guys that are. >> reporter: but you don't seem to have that in you. >> i don't know what it is, but i'm very fortunate. very fortunate to not have that outlook. >> reporter: what he has is a very good sense of balance, physical and emotional.
>> i will not sit down and let my injuries take over my life. i just want to get to there. >> reporter: ask his physical therapist luis garcia. must be some real problems working with a quadruple amputee. >> it's as... it's a lot easier than i thought it would be. >> reporter: really? >> because of his character and personality. >> reporter: brendan cracks jokes only he can get away with. >> there's times where he's... just give me a hand. can i just get a hand. like joking around. and i'm, like, yeah. >> reporter: but there's no sugar coating his wounds. here he is on one of his first days in physical therapy, still zonked on pain medication, still with a feeding tube. here's the first time he tried to stand upright on a pair of beginner legs. think about learning to walk without arms for balance or to break a fall. which is harder, the lack of arms or the lack of legs? >> lack of arms by far. >> reporter: by far? >> by far. it's... without legs, you can
still be independent. without arms there's so much more that you can't do. >> reporter: without legs he can still hit the slopes. >> it was amazing to get back out and do something that i used to do. because that's... i'm all about being able to do what i used to do. >> reporter: it makes you wonder who's inspiring whom in this picture. after meeting brendan, it's hard to take anything in your own life for granted. >> i love walking. i love it. i mean, i... just not at the point where i can wear them all the time. i wish i was, but... >> reporter: do you think you'll get there? >> oh, of course, yeah. no doubt about it i will. >> reporter: he uses a virtual reality chamber to practice walking on real world terrain. >> i needed a rest. >> reporter: he still needs a wheelchair for every day locomotion but that's not a nurse, it's his fiance kate. they met at walter reed. >> did you feel sorry for him? >> no, not at all.
he... he's such an incredible person and people don't need to feel sorry for him. he's going to do some great things in his life. >> reporter: now you know you're buying off on something that's not going to be a normal life. >> he's better than normal to me. >> reporter: and what else does he plan to do with his life? >> get my bachelor's degree and master's degree and try and go maybe into the f.b.i. or the c.i.a. >> reporter: but he believe this is happened for a reason. part of god's plan. what do you think the plan is for you? >> so far it seems to be just to inspire people and touch lives. it seems to be how it is right now. >> reporter: it also seems brendan morocco didn't just survive, he thrived. david martin, cbs news, walter reed army medical center. >> couric: wow. thank you, brendan, and thank you, david, for telling his story. and that's the "cbs evening news," i'm katie couric. thank you for watching. good night.
some flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder in the skies tonight. let's get straight to topper on the latest on the severe weather coming our way. >> the good news is i'm out on the weather terrace. if it were severe right now, i wouldn't be out here. we do practice lightning safety and that sort of thing. let me start with live doppler. the heavy activity right now is moving across the bay. it's pulling out of the baltimore harbor, heading toward delmarva. there are showers to the west. we won't be done with the showers. there are no watches in effect for the metro area. we'll zoom in a little bit. we do find activity up in baltimore. the heaviest activity has pushed away from annapolis. the forecast for tonight -- thunderstorms taper off to showers. mo c